International Connector Invests in the Future with an Experience of a Lifetime to Inspire Change
CHICAGO — July 9, 2018: Today, International Connector kicks off it’s 4th Your Big Year educational program to empower the next generation to come together and approach one another with more empathy. Starting today and lasting until August 3, International Connector is taking four students on a road trip to experience new cultures, embrace differences and build skill sets to take into their future work.
Four Gen-Z students have been awarded the Your Big Year scholarship due to their passion to make an impact in society, authentic presentation and curiosity to learn. Your Big Year takes these students on a tour of the U.S. to learn first-hand about our nation’s history and our current challenges, from the civil rights movement in Alabama, and the immigration struggles in Texas, to Nashville’s influential music legends. Our students, “the travel squad,” will spend time with the melting pot of cultures across the country and meet with people from of all walks of life to learn what inspired where they are today. The goal of this journey is to give our next wave of leaders the travel experience of a lifetime and spark their desire to make a difference in the future.
“We are living in such a divisive time in the U.S. right now, and we need our young leaders to understand their own country and how diverse and beautiful it is,” stated Marti Grimminck, the Founder & CEO of International Connector. “If they are to make a difference in the future, our young leaders today need to experience and see for themselves the day to day challenges of others as they discover what their big year can be.”
The Your Big Year travel squad brings a diversity of experience from their varied backgrounds in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Ohio, and Nepal. Their unique journey will be documented through social posts, chats and tweets, and in a series of short-content webisodes captured by a 20-year-old budding filmmaker from Ithaca College, Andrew Hallenberg.
According to research by Your Big Year’s partner Student Youth Travel Association, travel develops vital soft skills for young leaders including empathy, cultural tolerance, emotional intelligence, self-expression and independence and self-esteem among others. Often overlooked by many young Americans in their early career paths, travel can open new avenues for developing essential skills and discovering interests. With the partners of Your Big Year, we also provide young leaders with tips and tricks to travel within their means, including ways to find jobs to fund the adventure.
Many of the previous Your Big Year Champions have since been propelled onto the global stage and have been awarded elite prizes, scholarships, investment, and most importantly, all have become active global citizens. “Your Big Year was a magical moment for me. It really demonstrated to me how youth from around the world are not given enough access to opportunities to further develop their knowledge and skills, so as to improve their country and the world,” stated Your Big Year Champion, Karyssa Zavala from Texas. Raised by a farmer and a teacher, Karyssa has become a role model in the Latino community. Her passion is to raise health and safety standards for thousands of agricultural workers in the US, HAITI, and Latin America. Her specific area of interest is in international agricultural development involves protecting the human rights of smallholder farmers; particularly women. “that experience [of Your Big Year] and all the people I had the fortune of meeting, is honestly what pushes me to continue on this path.”